The Gotham Depression was an economic downturn in Gotham City that occurred when Bruce Wayne was a child. It was a new method used by the League of Shadows as a way to destroy the city because they viewed Gotham as having succumbed to decadence and corruption and its destruction was necessary to restore the world to balance. Thomas Wayne nearly bankrupted Wayne Enterprises into helping the city by building a cheap public transportation system. When Thomas and his wife Martha were murdered, the wealthy and powerful citizens of Gotham began doing more to help and helped the city to continue for another 20 years until the League returned to try to destroy the city once again.

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